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FIPB: Hubert Burba Media India, IDIL approved; IIFL Holdings, Ozone Networks deferred


The Indian government has approved 21 proposals of Foreign Direct Investment (FDI) valued approximately at Rs 280.70 crore, based on the recommendation of the Foreign Investment Promotion Board (FIPB) last month.

The Internet and Media companies which have received approvals from the FIPB include:

Hubert Burda Media India Pvt Ltd: Hubert Burda Media (formerly HT Burda Media, a joint venture between German publishing company Burda Druck and The Hindustan Times) has received FIPB approval to get Rs 4.67 crore capital infusion from the parent company. It’s worth noting that Burda Druck had acquired HT Media’s entire 51% stake in HT Burda Media Ltd for Rs 60 crore, in March 2013. Previously, Hubert Burda Media India had sought for an approval from FIPB for an investment of up to Rs 7 crore, in June 2013.

Integrated Databases India Limited (IDIL): India Today Group owned IDIL, which runs the online B2B marketplace Indiabizsource.com, has received approval to issue equity shares worth Rs 7 crore to Nikkei Business Publications, Inc., Japan, which is equivalent to 20% of the shareholding of IDIL. Tokyo-based Nikkei Business Publications is a well-known book and magazine publisher.

The internet and telecom companies deferred by the government include:

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IIFL Holdings: IIFL Holdings’ (formerly India Infoline) proposal to increase foreign equity from 54.7% to 100% by way of issuing shares to FIIs has been deferred. IIFL Holdings is a non-bank financial company (NBFC) offering brokering and wealth management services.

India Value Fund IV: India Value Fund’s proposal to invest in the capital of Atria Convergence Technologies (ACT) in excess of 49% and up to 100% by subscribing to equity/compulsorily convertible preference shares/fully convertible debentures has been deferred. IVF is an existing investor in ACT. India Value Fund IV had separately also proposed making downstream investment in companies engaged in ISP and Multi Subscriber Operator (MSO) activities, which has also been deferred.

India Value Fund Advisors recently invested $50 million in radio cab service provider Meru Cabs.

Compatel India Pvt Ltd: One year old telecom company Compatel India’s proposal for foreign equity participation of 100% has been deferred. The same proposal by the company had been deferred in March this year as well. Very little information is available about this Mumbai-based company, and it doesn’t seem to have a website either.

Knowlarity Communications: Cloud telephony company Knowlarity’s proposal to transfer shares from existing investors and issue fresh equity shares and CCPS to existing and new investors which would lead to an increased FDI stake from 56.14% to 80.97% has been deferred. The same proposal had been deferred by the government in January this year as well. In July 2014, Knowlarity raised $16 million in Series B funding from Sequoia Capital and Mayfield Advisors and said that the money would be invested in technology and international expansion.

Ozone Networks: Public Wi-Fi service provider Ozone Networks’ proposal to increase FDI from the current 33.33% (from AL Telecom Holdings (India) Limited, Cyprus) to up to 100% through investment by Ozone BV, Netherlands by way of purchase of the equity share capital existing foreign and domestic shareholders has been deferred.

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In November last year, Ozone Networks had signed a Small Cell as a Service agreement with Ericsson to provide a neutral Wi-Fi network across India. In the first stage of this project, Ozone was expected to get 30,000 Wi-Fi access points, network management nodes and tools, along with various monetization options for the network, from Ericsson.

Image Credit: Flickr users Jake Rust.

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